As the Washington Capitals look toward next season with their eyes on that elusive Stanley Cup, Mike Knuble and Tyler Sloan looked back on the season that wasn’t during the premiere of the 2009-2010 “Hockey Diaries: The Almost Season” at XM Studios in Washington, DC.
More than 400 hours of observations by Knuble and Sloan were recorded, offering unprecedented access into the world of hockey from two distinctly different players. Sloan is a 29 year-old role player who fights for a spot in star-studded Capitals lineup and Mike Knuble is a scrappy 14 year veteran who plays side-by-side with world-class players Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on Washington’s top line.
Hockey Diaries is the brainchild of Media Chameleon, non-profit production company run by producers Chris Nelson and Gemma Hooley. After the success of the 2008-2009 Hockey Diaries featuring the Capitals’ Brooks Laich and Karl Alzner, Knuble and Sloan were given small audio recorders and asked to give an unvarnished account of the grueling seven-month season.
Sloan was particularly frank on the recordings about his frustration over his lack of playing time. “There were times when I did not hold back,” he said. “Any athlete that isn’t playing the sport can get frustrated, I did at times but I still had a lot of fun coming to the rink everyday,” he said.
Nether Sloan nor Knuble knew what the other player was saying until they heard the documentary for the first time on Friday night. “I didn’t know until I heard the piece how much he was a part of it,” Sloan said.
“We didn’t know what each other was saying so to see it come together in the piece was pretty interesting too,” Knuble added. “We weren’t sitting there together going back and forth.”
The producers expressed genuine surprise that Knuble and Sloan were unaware of the other’s involvement. “Bruce was famous for coming into the locker room and making fun of whomever we were interviewing at the time,” Hooley remarked.
Listening to the radio documentary was a bittersweet experience for Knuble, who was forced to relive the disappointment of last year’s season. “You can’t be misquoted. The good times and the bad times,” he said. “It sounds like coming right out of your brain. You remember saying it.”
After the show, Knuble confessed that he still can’t bring himself to watch the controversial call in which a referee ruled that he had bumped into the Montreal goaltender in Game 7, nullifying an Ovechkin goal. “I saw it once or twice that night,” he said. “That was it.”
“It came down to our power play,” he recalled. “Something that was so good all year just failed. You kind of wonder why that happened.” But with the documentary over he stopped looking back and focused once more on the reason ahead.
“I think we are ready to get back at it,” Knuble said. “Instead of making us fragile I think it makes us stronger as a group.”